After Jayson Tatum’s second season with the Boston Celtics last year felt more like a step backward instead of a step forward, Tatum intends to have a new on-court approach for the upcoming season.
Tatum’s mild sophomore slump was mired in his penchant for settling for mid-range jumpers – a low percentage shot in today’s modern NBA focused on layups and 3-pointers.
And that’s exactly where Tatum will turn his attention toward to elevate his game as he shoulders more responsibility in his third year with the Celtics.
“Shoot more threes. Threes and layups and free throws,” Tatum told the assembled media at Celtics Media Day on Monday.
Despite missing time with Team USA due to injury, @jaytatum0 had some important takeaways from his experience. pic.twitter.com/gAITrkYWVb— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) September 30, 2019
While Tatum averaged 15.7 points per game on 45 percent shooting last year, the 6-foot-8, 210-pound small forward rarely made his way to the charity stripe. Tatum, who was an 85.5 percent free-throw shooter a season ago, attempted on average 2.9 free throws per game – a tick below the 3.2 attempts he registered during his rookie campaign.
Tatum knows if he is to ascend any higher in the NBA, he’ll have to make the free-throw line more of a permanent home.
Jayson Tatum says one of the biggest things he's working on is getting to the free-throw line more often: "If you want to be a great scorer in this league, you’ve got to be able to get to the line." pic.twitter.com/ptb6VQi3dM— Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) September 30, 2019
“If you want to be a great scorer in this league, you’ve got to be able to get to the line,” Tatum said.
With training camp starting Tuesday, Tatum also gave an update on his health after he sprained his ankle playing for Team USA this summer and missed the final six games the Americans played at the FIBA World Cup.
“Feeling good. Ankle’s feeling fine,” Tatum said. “I’m ready to go.”